VITALITE was founded out of a need to electrify rural and peri-urban Zambia – one of the most dispersed populations with little access to the national grid. With a mission to make quality products and services accessible and affordable to all Zambian households, the company would grow to not only provide solar products to underserved communities, but also to pioneer an integrated pay-as-you-go financial service ensuring low-income, indigent households had the opportunity to invest in their own critical services.

John Fay, former VITALITE director, said the company’s involvement with PFAN was a natural progression; having worked with other companies and individuals in the network, Fay said the company was drawn to the wealth of knowledge and opportunity that PFAN could offer. “We applied and were accepted. It was quick, and while our company wasn’t in the same phase of operations as others in the programme, PFAN helped equip us with the tools that we’ve since been able to use in the current phase of work.’’

Fay said the value of the network was constantly reaffirmed. Even though VITALITE was technically competing with other companies, Fay said they were able to use the network and build together. He said the relationships formed helped VITALITE link with new companies, organisations and opportunities across the continent, while also being able to help connect others in the PFAN network to us expand their own network in Zambia.

Fay said Zambia was facing major challenges as economic hardship had “hit hard”, but challenges were nothing new. He said VITALITE had transitioned to localise management and operations to keep costs down and had built the company to be flexible and built for uncertainty. “We always expect a hard time because of where we work, so we’ve designed our company to handle the unexpected. PFAN helped us do that.” Today VITALITE offers a range of products including solar home systems, energy efficient and clean cook stoves, and solar powered agro-innovations suitable for the agri-centric population.

Location Zambia
Investment amount US$500,000
Technology area Solar power, clean energy and clean cooking, plus productive use appliances for farmers
Business type Brownfield
Project IRR >20%
PFAN Regional Coordinator Thaven Naidoo